Over the years, it has been determined that patients with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia smoke too much. However, recent studies have shown that people have renewed interest in the high prevalence of nicotine addiction among patients with schizophrenia symptoms. Facts have proved that heavy smoking is closely related to this mental illness, which may have an impact on the underlying neurobiology of the disease.
Among patients with schizophrenia, smoking rates are believed to be two to four times higher. Compared with smokers, most smokers with schizophrenia smoke more cigarettes a day and have stronger smoking brands.
Many studies and theories have been proposed as to why most people with this mental disorder smoke. Experts believe that nicotine can be used as a form of self-medication for patients with schizophrenia. Although smoking has a negative effect on long-term health, nicotine still produces many beneficial effects.
People with schizophrenia who smoke report that this practice helps reduce their symptoms. Various studies have confirmed this, proving that smoking is directly related to the reduction of negative symptoms of mental disorders. These symptoms include lack of motivation, anxiety and social withdrawal. Schizophrenia experts believe that this effect is due to the ability of nicotine to increase the level of dopamine in areas of the brain that are related to consciousness and interact with the person’s surrounding environment.
Clozapine is considered to be an atypical antipsychotic that can relieve negative symptoms, and its mode of action is similar. On the other hand, there is no evidence that nicotine has an effect on the positive symptoms of schizophrenia, and the positive symptoms of schizophrenia involve abnormal thought content of the affected person. In addition, if nicotine is withdrawn from smokers with mental illness, these symptoms will not increase.
Reducing the side effects of schizophrenia drugs is one of the reasons behind excessive smoking schizophrenia. The stiffness and stiffness of exercise are examples of unpleasant side effects of antipsychotics. In addition, it has also been found that nicotine can combat the adverse side effects of antipsychotics on certain mental functions. A study of patients with schizophrenia taking a typical antipsychotic drug called haloperidol showed that skin patches of nicotine had less adverse effects on them.
The human brain is involved in working memory, and the area of attention span and motivation has a large number of nicotine molecular receptors. Studies have shown that nicotine has these functions in both smokers with schizophrenia and non-smokers with mental illness. However, people with symptoms of schizophrenia generally show greater improvement than the general population. Likewise, there may be genetic differences that determine the extent to which individuals will be affected by higher nicotine intake.
In view of the negative effects of nicotine on human health, including increased risk of heart disease and cancer, experts believe that there is an urgent need for treatments that can provide nicotine benefits without compromising long-term health. Vaping would be a better way to replace smoking.